Archived Story

Chappell resigns

Published 10:59am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GATESVILLE – There were some that didn’t think Toby Chappell was ready, experience-wise, to move up the professional ladder as a County Manager.

After their meeting on Tuesday, it’s apparent that the overwhelming majority of the Greenwood County (S.C.) Council was not of that opinion.

By a 6-1 vote, Greenwood’s governing body offered a two-year contract (at $110,000 per year) to Chappell to become their next County Manager. Chappell, who has managed Gates County local government for the past four years, said he has accepted the offer.

“It’s a win-win situation, both personally and professionally,” Chappell said by telephone Tuesday night. “It’s like I said earlier this month when the news broke that I was among the final three candidates for the Greenwood job, this is so much more than a career move for financial gain. This move puts my wife only one hour away from her parents, which allows them to become a more viable part of the life of our four-month-old daughter. Family members play such an important role in the overall development of a young child.”

While he was pleased to have a chance to move forward professionally, Chappell said Tuesday’s news from Greenwood County was bittersweet.

“It’s tough to think about leaving Gates County; this is where my career as a county manager began and it’s a place that will forever hold a special place in my heart,” Chappell stressed. “(His wife) Caroline and I have built some good relationships here with the people of this county. They welcomed us in and made us feel at home and we thank them for that.”

As far as the timetable for Chappell’s departure, he said his Gates County contract called for 45 days after giving his resignation. He was expected to kick-in that clause of his contract by officially resigning on Wednesday during emergency meeting called by Gates County Commission Chairman Graham Twine.

“My contract here calls for 45 days upon resigning, or a lesser amount agreed to by both parties,” Chappell said. “If the commissioners opt for the full 45 days, I’ll honor that….it’s in my contract.”

Despite what some were saying about making the leap to a county six times larger than Gates, Chappell said he was ready for that challenge.

“There’s a misconception that a manager of a small county can’t make a jump to a larger county, that you have to methodically inch your way up the ladder,” Chappell stated. “I feel the exact opposite. I feel that the experience you gain at managing a small county is priceless, simply because you have to wear so many different hats due to an operating budget that limits the size of your staff.

“Here in Gates County, I’m the personnel director, the economic development director and handle most of the staff development,” he continued. “In Greenwood County they have staff to handle all those positions, but I can use the experience I gained here to help them build on what they’re already doing or observe they’re already doing it the right way. Sure, Greenwood is a bigger county with a larger staff of county employees. For me the job there becomes an issue of adjusting to scale and not one of lacking overall skill. It’s the same issues, just at a larger level.”

Even though Chappell was a “rookie” in county management when he arrived in Gatesville four years ago, he said he was proud of what has been accomplished in that short period of time.

“And let me stress right off the bat that this isn’t all about me; rather it’s about we….the manager, the commissioners, the staff and the citizens,” he noted. “What I’m most proud of is the stability we’ve been able to build. There were five managers in the three years before I got here in 2008. That is what leads to inconsistencies; different priorities that confuses the staff to the point where they’re overwhelmed. Now everyone is on the same page and heading in the same direction.”

The implementation of staff development also was at the top of Chappell’s list of accomplishments during his time in Gates County.

“We placed a big emphasis on continuing education; we now perform evaluations, to include what training they personally attended or their staff attended,” he said. “That expands the skill set of our employees, it makes them more valuable to us and to them personally. We’ve gone from having good employees to having great employees.”

Dealing with long-term issues was also successfully implemented during Chappell’s stay.

“We looking at the county’s future more aggressively….things like dealing with the sell of the old Sunbury School, addressing the issues of our historic courthouse and how to save that facility, and implementing a capital improvement plan for county buildings; they all are part of this county’s roadmap for the future,” he said.

He was also proud to say that Gates County is stronger financially than four years ago.

“And that fact includes going through a revaluation year and the great recession,” he noted. “This fact is less to do with me and more to do with our proactive commissioners as well as (county finance officer) Sandy Pittman. I would encourage the next county manager here to watch Sandy’s back because she’s watching the county’s back.”

Despite its controversial status, Chappell said he was proud to see the county moving forward to construct a new public library.

“Look at it long term….it’s a state-of-the-art facility that will last this county well into the future,” he stressed. “It will help educate our children and our adults, and helps small business grow and prosper. It’s the foundation of this county’s future.”

While he was excited over the personal and professional opportunities that await in South Carolina, Chappell said he was thankful of Gates County officials for giving him his first chance to manage at the local government level.

“I would love nothing more than to read or hear down the road that Gates County is continuing to grow and prosper under the leadership of its manager, board of commissioners and staff. I’m happy over what we’ve been able to accomplish here in my four years and I’m excited about the future of this county,” Chappell closed.

Chappell beat out two other finalists for the Greenwood County manager post: former Greenwood County manager Bob Haynie and current Kiawah Island (S.C.) town administrator Tumiko Rucker.

The position became open when Greenwood County manager Jim Kier resigned his full-time post June 30 and has been working part time while Council worked to find a new manager.

Greenwood County, with a population of 69,800, is located south of Spartanburg, SC and west of Columbia, SC.

  1. had-enough

    so glad that chappell got that job is sc and will be gone. twine too. its going to be a great day in gates county. jordan you are next.

    Suggest Removal

  2. skippy1975

    Who’s say I’m fooling anyone? And who’s hiding? I’ve only met this Anthony once or twice during the meeting breaks. And Mr. T I agree with 100% about being far behind here in the county. For shopping,entertainment or eating out somewhere,we have to go 20 to 30 miles to other counties or state. If remember from what someone told me at one of the meetings they use to have movie theater in Gatesville.

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  3. skippy1975

    Had-enough I don’t hate people. I sometimes disagree of what they say sometimes. And for this Anthony fellow you’re speaking of, I don’t know him very well;however,I do notice how nervous he gets when he gets up and speaks.It’s normal for people to get nervous when they are speaking in public who doesn’t. Some people get nervous when they are pulled over for speeding. It’s just a habit to get nervous.

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  4. Mister T

    I have ben to a few meetings but know people that go to most of the meetings. Some people sit their and make smart commeents and some film the meetings but never get up and speak and just post things on web sites around how people are bad at there jobs. I dont blame him for leaving becuase people here grip about new things. We are so far behind the time here and dont have nothing for our kids.

    Sense there seem to be soem smart people on here. Can anyone confirm my Eure commissioner has tried to get the managers seat before? He has an ax to grind and i have been told this is why. I missed the last meeting but if you watch the video of the end you will see he already says he has the new person elected on his side. watch it yourself and see. I hope Ms Linda Hoffler is her ownself and dont listen to his mess and she heard his comment. I can not wait to take my kids to the new library in a ferw months. I also hope we get some places to eat out there around it.

    think you Mr. Chapell for what you have done for us. I wish you could have got us that Subway or Bojangles before you left. I hope the citizens are nicer and the fish are bigger down there for you.

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  5. kathymalaspina

    Oh now it makes perfect sense. Skippy is Mr. Felton. LOL

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  6. skippy1975

    Tell you the truth I’ve only been to 2 of the commissioner meetings,and not many people get up and speak.Why is that? I’m new to the county;in fact,I’ve been here for 3 years and still loving the county.If I had something to say there I would.

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  7. pumpkinpie

    Well I for one can’t see where Chappell has done the county any favors. He has cost us an enormous amount of money and has wasted too many tax dollars. His legacy will be exactly that! I am glad he’s going and as for the 45 days he is obligated to I cringe to think of the damage he can leave on us! Mr. Chappell has cut his teeth on us and has left bite marks that may very well never go away! We will be left to look at a commerce park with NO COMMERCE and a library that stands as a sore reminder of local government gone egomaniac under a delusional leader! Go far far away Mr. Chappell and don’t let your office door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

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  8. kathymalaspina

    It’s GREAT!.People in our county couldn’t have gotten better news. The citizens are happy.

    Twine gone, now Chappell. It’s Christmas already. To had-enough, you are right. The stores were buzzing with talk.

    To Skippy, are you serious?

    Since you think Chappell has done 100% job (your words) please give me some information to back that one up. LOL

    Tell me ANYTHING that idiot has done for the people of Gates County except waste our tax dollars. The man is incompetant as a county manager.

    Gates County was a stepping stone. He needed this job long enough to get anything on a resumee.

    I said when he first started he would be out the door soon as he could. Thank goodness I was right.

    The man NEVER paid a single tax here. He NEVER owned a home! His cars ( except maybe the new one) were not taxed here. get real Skippy!

    You are on here calling people FOOLS…maybe you are Chappell himself…one of the whoyaknows…

    you are in a group all alone if you say Chappell did anything good for Gates County.

    Ride down 158 and take a gander at the library only 325 people wanted, that got shoved down our throats. It’s sitting 10 feet below road level. Better start saving for your canoe to get to it.

    The Commerce Park project that is already a failure.

    Olds has them in every county and none of them are doing anything.

    The sewer line that will go to nowhere, yet we are having to pay higher water bills to finance it.

    Greenwood you are next. He will be hiring all his buddies
    to do the projects…be damn a honest bid..or hiring your locals.

    You have my deepest sympathy. One thing I would bet. Those councilmen there will not put up with the disrespect and attitude that Chappell expressed to citizens and his superiors, the commissioners.

    My phone was ringing off the hook last night. Some from
    ex commissioners who were fooled by him and readily admitted it..they were oh so happy that he is history.

    Will be waiting skippy for your response. Please enlighten me on anything! Will be looking forward to it.

    Suggest Removal

  9. had-enough

    thank ya Jesus. so glad that worthless good for nothin is leaving. poor greenwood sc, they do not have a clue what they just hired. he won’t last long as soon as he shows his true hateful arrogant colors they will be kicking him to the curb. hey why wait 45 days? leave now and do us all a favor.i was down at one of our local stores and there is a celebration going on. good news travels fast.the citizens are estatic! hey skippy you are the ONLY one that thinks he has done a 100% job. why dont you throw him a going away party!

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  10. skippy1975

    Mr. Chappell you’ve done a great 100% job for our county. I wish you the very best,and God Bless.

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